Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh's keynote speech at Workshop on APEC Viet Nam 2017
14:31 | 24/06/2015
VGP - Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh delivered a keynote speech at the workshop on "APEC Viet Nam 2017: Ways forward to a robust, resilient and inter-connected APEC Community" held in Ha Noi on June 24.

The following is his full speech:



Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very delighted to join you all at our today's Workshop on "APEC Viet Nam 2017: Ways Forward to a Robust, Resilient and Inter-Connected APEC Community".

Let me, on behalf of the Government of Viet Nam, commend the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam in partnership with the APEC Secretariat and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to convene this meeting.

I welcome all distinguished delegates and international speakers to this momentous event.

For Viet Nam, this first ever large-scale international workshop is designed to promote our exchange of views and common perception on the importance of APEC Viet Nam 2017 and to foster our concerted efforts in the arrangements for this event.

And I am inspired by the broad participation of leading domestic and international experts as well as representatives from various ministries, localities, business community and media agencies in the meeting.

This truly reflects our joint determination to build a robust, resilient and inter-connected APEC Community.

Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh at the workshop. Photo: VGP/Hai Minh

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For more than 25 years now, APEC has proved itself to be the world's leading mechanism for economic cooperation. It has been a pioneer in advancing trade and investment liberalization and bolstering the vibrant trend of multi-layer-economic cooperation and integration for peace and development.

APEC encompasses many of the most dynamic economies in the region, representing around 39 per cent of the world population, 57 per cent of total global GDP and 47 per cent of world trade.

Since APEC's inception, the average tariff rate among its members has declined nearly three-fold and  intra-regional trade has increased by more than seven-fold.

In the coming decades, APEC will certainly continue to play an indispensable role in the evolving regional architecture, particularly in fostering coordination and inter-connection among regional mechanisms. And APEC will continue to serve as a key platform to elevate the profile of Asia - Pacific and an engine for global economic growth and integration.

In this flatter and more connected world, APEC is undergoing a fundamental shift in substance with more in-depth and pragmatic elements for integration.

A sense for an APEC Community will definitely be solidified by growing shared interests among its member economies. Such common denominators include maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation for sustainable development and prosperity.

As for Viet Nam, APEC always holds a strategic position in the country's reform, development and international integration.

The forum indeed embraces most of our strategic as well as our leading economic and trade partners. They make up 78 per cent of Viet Nam's FDI, 79 per cent in total of the country's foreign trade amount and 70 per cent of inbound tourists.

And 13 out of 15 Free Trade Agreements signed or currently under negotiation by Viet Nam are with APEC member economies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

APEC Viet Nam 2017 is by and large a lynchpin of our foreign policy towards 2020. Given the country's growing international profile and the successful accomplishment of the APEC 2006, Viet Nam's hosting of APEC for the second time will be our best possible contributions to promoting shared interests within APEC in the evolving regional landscape.

The APEC 2017 is meaningful since Viet Nam will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its membership (1998 - 2018).

Apart from our ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020, our candidacy for the U.N. Security Council for 2020 - 2021 and our efforts to fulfill WTO commitments by 2018, the APEC Year 2017 is another vivid example of Viet Nam's strong determination to deepen our comprehensive international integration and to lift up our multilateral diplomacy.

This will also offer an opportunity for Viet Nam and other ASEAN members to nurture
the friendship, cooperation and bonds with regional partners, businesses and friends.

And at the same time, it will provide us with fresh impetus to put in place the ASEAN Community's Post-2015 Vision and to fulfill the 2011-2020 Socio-economic Development Strategy.

The APEC 2017 and its related events will no doubt bring new opportunties for promoting interactions between businesses, localities and among citizens of Viet Nam.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our workshop takes place at a time when many ministries, agencies, localities and businesses of Viet Nam are expeditiously making preparations for the APEC 2017. The National Committee for APEC 2017 will be established in a couples of weeks' time.

Our preparatory work for the hosting of APEC 2017 unfolds against a backdrop of profound and far-reaching changes in the region and beyond. They constitute new and complex issues for APEC and its member economies, including Viet Nam.

First and foremost, the 2008-2009 global financial and economic crisis resulted in a fundamental shift in the global economy, thus creating new patterns of economic growth.

There emerges a rising tendency of renovation of thinking, policies and practices towards  sustainable, high-quality and green growth.

APEC is also accelerating its reform and expanding its cooperation to next-generation trade and investment elements as well as global issues.

Under such circumstances, I hold that, it is imperative for ministries, agencies and localities and businesses of Viet Nam to renovate their ways of thinking and doing, and to renew their cross-sectoral coordination.

These should be done in ways that enable a shift from "engagement" to "proactive contribution and launching of new ideas and initiatives."

I believe that, with the country's new international profile and strength after 30 years of renovation, Viet Nam is fully capable of making more meaningful contributions to APEC.

Secondly, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, the unprecedented pace of globalization coupled with the exceptional growth in information technology and global value chains have led to increase in interdependence among nations and promoted linkages at all levels.

As we all witness, the security and development environment is evolving rapidly, while global challenges are becoming more acute. All economies are in need of enhanced cooperation and integration for economic restructuring, expansion of space for development, and for positioning themselves more favorably in the new global landscape.

Asia-Pacific is taking the lead in that trend, notably in initiating numerous next-generation FTAs with huge potential for cooperation. This can serve as a solid foundation for a common denominator and a shared vision for an APEC Community.

For this to happen, it is my view that Viet Nam should work closely with other member economies, the APEC Secretariat as well as various regional organizations and businesses to promote shared interests and priorities with a view to multiplying  similarities and harmonizing differences.

Thirdly, the next five to ten years will be critical to APEC. We will have to fulfill all the Bogor goals on trade and investment liberalization by 2020 and carry out many key strategies.

And, we also will have to speed up APEC reform in ways that elevate the forum's profile and prestige against the backdrop of many other regional arrangements coming to the fore or being fortified.

At the same time, we should work together to put into action the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs) and to promote the multilateral trading system, including
the Bali Action Plan.

For Viet Nam, this timeline is vital. Since, we will have to complete the 2011-2020 Socio-economic Development Strategy. And, we also will need to deepen our comprehensive international integration with a focus on building the ASEAN Community and implementing commitments in our FTAs.

By 2020, Viet Nam is expected to become, for the first time, an eye on the chain of FTAs that links with all economic and trade hubs worldwide, including 18 out of the 20 APEC member economies.

Therefore, I am of the view that all Government agencies and research institutes, including the Viet Nam APEC Study Center, should keep up with the global and regional trend so as to take a prompt and in-depth study of new elements for APEC cooperation. And, we need to come up with concrete ideas and initiatives for the APEC 2017.

Special attention should be given to promoting the long-term goals endorsed by APEC, such as strategies on sustainable - inclusive - innovative growth, structural reform, regional integration - connectivity - the global supply chain, next-generation trade and investment issues, resilient community, support for small and medium enterprises, and the realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia - Pacific (FTAAP).

At the same time, we also need new ideas and initiatives to foster APEC's contributions to addressing global issues, particularly the food - water - energy nexus, sustainable agriculture, human resources development, and public-private partnership.

Fourthly, it is encouraging to note that business community has played a key role in the formation of APEC and served as an engine for enhanced regional integration over the past 25 years.

Taking stock of fundamental changes in the global economy, businesses have an even more critical role to play, particularly in initiating and promoting new ideas and innovation, transfer of technology and management skills.

They are also a pioneer in developing the global value chains and fostering connectivity, thus making APEC cooperation more realistic, effective and result-oriented.

With that in mind, Vietnamese businesses and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) should join hands with APEC businesses to flesh out ideas and initiatives, contribute sources and showcase the essential role in preparations for and organization of  the APEC 2017 and other related events, especially the CEO Summit.

Last but not least, as the host of APEC 2017, I encourage all ministries, agencies localities, businesses, media organizations and people to seize this opportunity and to take responsibility to sell Viet Nam to our friends in the region. We should work to project an image of Viet Nam as a country of reform, dynamics and abundant development potential, embarking on its comprehensive international integration with a new status.

The APEC 2017  will also be a good chance for the member economies to further explore a heroic history and a culture with profound national identity of Viet Nam.

They also will eye-witness a tradition of "hospitality, courteousness, harmoniousness and gratitude" of the Vietnamese people and the "timeless charm" of the country.

And above all, the key to success is human. We must be well-prepared in terms of logistical arrangements, ranging from facility, content, protocol to media, security and health care for over 100 conferences and meetings to be held at all levels and nationwide.

There will be more than 10,000 delegates, businesses and newspersons attending the APEC Leaders' Week.

Ministries and agencies concerned will chair a series of events in various Committees and Working Groups from 2016 to 2018.

This, therefore, requires capable, well-trained and dedicated personnel, businesses, journalists and volunteers. We need to expeditiously develop a roadmap for each and every part of the job. And we also need to enhance our cross-sectoral coordination in a synchronized and holistic manner.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Viet Nam highly values the support, assistance and experience-sharing rendered by
the member economies, the APEC Secretariat and many regional organizations.

At our workshop today, I wish to kindly ask you all, both international and domestic experts as well as distinguished delegates to focus our deliberations on the following questions:

First, whether APEC could assume a far more pivotal role in the years to come? And how the integration trend of APEC would be developed, especially in terms of cooperation elements.

Second, what will be our priorities and areas of cooperation that need to be promoted in 2017.

Third, what need to be done by Viet Nam to make the APEC 2017 a real and meaningful contribution  to APEC cooperation.

I am confident that, your insights and expertise would be a great asset to our workshop.
New ideas and approaches from this event definitely will enable Viet Nam to successfully host the APEC 2017.

And, they will contribute significantly to our endeavors to build a robust, resilient and
inter-connected APEC Community.  

Thank you.


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